Trump picks Kelly deputy Kirstjen Nielsen to lead DHS

Trump picks Kelly deputy Kirstjen Nielsen to lead DHS
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President Trump plans to nominate Kirstjen Nielsen, a top aide to White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the White House announced Wednesday.

Nielsen served as Kelly's top aide during his stint as DHS secretary earlier this year and continued to work as his deputy chief of staff after he moved to the West Wing.

She has extensive experience in homeland security policy, cybersecurity and emergency management, the White House noted in its announcement. 

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Nielsen previously worked at DHS as senior legislative policy director for the Transportation and Security Administration under President George W. Bush and served on the White House Homeland Security Council under Bush.

“She would be the first person to run the department who has actually worked there,” a person close to the administration told Politico, which was the first to report her nomination on Wednesday. “She has a deep familiarity.” 

Nielsen previously worked as the president of Sunesis Consulting and served as a senior fellow and member of the Resilience Task Force at the George Washington University's Center for Cyber and Homeland Security. She also has an extensive background in the homeland security arena.

Nielsen and Kelly developed a strong professional relationship when she worked as his “sherpa,” guiding him through the Senate confirmation process, according to Politico.

Updated: 5:20 p.m.